27 Unprofessional Habits That Could be Sinking Your Career

Katie Sweeney

My older brother once told me a story about how his ironing skills landed him his first major promotion. No, he doesn’t work at a dry cleaner, he’s an official in the golf industry and years ago when it came time for his boss to choose between my brother and a more senior, more qualified candidate, my brother won out. Turns out the other guy’s shirts were always dirty and wrinkled. Since my brother showed up earlier with a fresh-pressed, perfectly tucked in shirt, he got the job. While you may not think anyone notices something like a wrinkled shirt, repetitive unprofessional habits could be destroying your career. A recent Inc. article touches on the subject and lists out a bunch of bad practices that you should avoid doing. Although each occupation has a different set of standards of what they consider to be unprofessional, most of the customs listed are somewhat universal. I've listed them out below. 

  1. Showing up to work late.
  2. Dressing inappropriately.
  3. Practicing poor hygiene.
  4. Using inappropriate or rude language.
  5. Harassing, bullying, or distracting coworkers.
  6. Flirting.
  7. Exhibiting threatening behaviour (physical, verbal, written violence).
  8. Passive-aggressive behaviour.
  9. Disrespecting your boss/manager/employer.
  10. Demanding special treatment.
  11. Refusing to do the work assigned to you.
  12. Stealing or taking things that don't belong to you (food, office supplies, etc.).
  13. Sabotaging others' work.
  14. Being overly criticising of others' work or behaviour.
  15. Procrastination.
  16. Making unfair or inappropriate judgments about coworkers or the company.
  17. Poor communication (not returning emails or calls, failure to follow up).
  18. Poor work ethic or laziness.
  19. Failing to keep promises or repay favours to coworkers, customers, bosses, etc.
  20. Lying.
  21. Excessive complaining.
  22. Spreading rumours, badmouthing, backstabbing.
  23. Unwillingness to work with others.
  24. Displaying excessive uncalled-for emotion (screaming, crying, etc.).
  25. Bringing non-work problems and issues to work.
  26. Defensiveness or excessive sensitivity to constructive criticism.
  27. Displaying a consistently negative attitude.

Ensure that your shirts are nicely pressed by investing in a quality iron.

Have you witnessed a coworker be unprofessional? What did they do?

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